The Argument Clinic.

Whats wrong with this picture? Not a damned thing.

What's wrong with this picture? Not a damned thing.

This morning, I had the opportunity to sleep in. I woke to the sound of my wife getting ready for work and watching the news. She passed on the news that Laura Ling and Euna Lee are on their way home from being captive in North Korea. It is a good day. What could be bad about that?

Well, apparently it can be bad, because according to the Republicans, sending Bill Clinton to speak to the North Koreans was wrong because it gives that countries leaders opportunities to use the release and photos of Kim Jong Il and the former president  as propaganda tools.

Come on, seriously? Since when does a nation that operates by means of propaganda need a photo opportunity to get it done? Truth has nothing to do with it. Besides, wasn’t the fact that US journalists were being held a propaganda gold mine in itself that never had to end?

It occurred to me that the opposition provided by the far right in this country is nothing more than a reconstruction of the Monty Python comedy sketch, The Argument Clinic.

For those unfamiliar with The Argument Clinic, a man enters the clinic and pays to have an argument. He is mistakenly directed to a room where someone heaps derisive insults on him. When the mistake is realized, the man is directed to the argument room next door. In the argument room, he receives an “argument” almost entirely based in simply denying what he says…”yes it is”, “no it isn’t”.

Democracy, to be effective, requires opposition. Opposition that provides reasonable debate upon which change, compromise and solutions can be built.

The far right, in finding a derisive term to label supporters of things they oppose; in seeing only darkness in the release of freeing innocent citizens from imprisonment of foreign nations; in sending groups to shout down instead of participate in discussions of issues facing our country, have put The Argument Clinic into operation as a political strategy.

You support health care reform? Socialist.

Journalists are freed by discussion instead of posturing and bluster? Awful! Now they’ve got a propaganda tool!

Leaders providing an open forum for discussion? Shout them down and simply label every word they say as a lie.

Anything productive there? Something to build upon? I’m not seeing it.

In the Argument Sketch, the character calls the employee on the fact that he isn’t providing an argument, but merely contradiction. He puts forth that “an argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.” A short time later, the employee says he has to “take up a contrary position” in order to argue, and returns to simply denying whatever the other gentleman says.

The far right seems bent on only taking up a contrary position. Bringing forth reasoned debate that can lead to compromise and improving the lot of both sides isn’t valued.

I grew up loving Monty Python. I love The Argument Clinic. I’m fairly certain the sketch wasn’t written as a playbook on how to run the loyal opposition from either side in a democracy.



Filed under Diplomacy, Life Lessons, Movie reviews

25 responses to “The Argument Clinic.

  1. Been watching it on the tube and I am in awe of Bill and his diplomacy. What an awesome ending to a politically charged kidnapping.

    You are correct: the right will downplay the whole thing and try to use it as their own propaganda tool, saying Obama’s selling us out again. My sincere hope is American wakes up and finds these wing nuts have no clue as to what is right for this country. Old white folk stuck in the fifties inside a shoebox cemented shut, and more than happy to be there.

  2. David B

    Oh, just between you and me… Bill Clinton and two very very grateful young women on a private jet for 20 hours….???


    Some guys are just born lucky… ;->

  3. lilacluvr

    Remember, we are talking about the Social Conservative Republicans that swept into power in 1994 and what did they say then – compromise is a dirty word.

    These people do not believe in compromise. They only believe in those with the power can ramrod anything they want down the throats of anyone, at anytime, and any way they wish to ramrod.

    Isn’t this basically the philosophy of the C Street gang? Who are their role models – all the tyrants and dictators of the world’s past.

    What’s really worse – in my opinion – is these same people are using their particular brand of Christianity to somehow make their blood-thirsty quest for power a ‘good and righteous’ thing.

    Tyranny is still tyranny – even with a big picture of Jesus and the Cross on the front banner.

  4. lilacluvr

    When I heard Bill Clinton negotiated the release of these two women journalists, my first thought was – this is going to drive the Republicans nuts.

    Of course, I laughed out loud.

    Someone on KPTS last night brought out the fact that it was during Clinton’s term that he called on a former president to go to North Korea and negotiate a delicate issue with Kim Jong Il’s father. You know who that former president was? Jimmy Carter.

    Jimmy Carter got North Korea to stop their nuclear program. Clinton handed that effort off to Bush and Cheney and, of course, all negotiations stopped because Cheney believed in not dealing with ‘evil’ people. So, for 8 years North Korea had free reign to do what they wanted – and they did.

    I always wondered – if Cheney does not believe in dealing with ‘evil’ people – how does he look in the mirror?

    Seriously, Republicans have yet to learn that just because we have the larger weapons, it does not mean we will win the war.

    Arrogance and ignorance are the Republicans’ two leading characteristics – and either one can bring down a great country like ours.

  5. wicked

    LOL on Cheney looking in the mirror, Lilac!

    How ironic that:

    The party of propagandists is crying “propaganda!” over the release of hostages.

    The party of trading arms for hostages is crying “propaganda!” over the release of hostages.

    Definition of PROPAGANDA:

    1. information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.

    2. the deliberate spreading of such information, rumors, etc.

    3. the particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization or movement.

    4. roman catholic church.
    a. a committee of cardinals, established in 1622 by pope gregory xv, having supervision over foreign missions and the training of priests for these missions.
    b. a school (college of propaganda) established by pope urban viii for the education of priests for foreign missions.

    5. archaic. an organization or movement for the spreading of propaganda.


  6. G-stir

    RE:”LOL on Cheney looking in the mirror, Lilac!”

    It’s a scientific fact that Cheney cannot see himself in a mirror!

  7. Pyongy beer for everyone!!!

  8. It’s not what it appears to be. Clinton is a master of the art of delusion. And a strategist par excellence. And a politician, you know, that wholly untrustworthy class of human?

  9. Bad Biker

    There is an old expression from nearly forty years ago that sums up the GOP completely.

    It is a bit obscene and is not appropriate for young people – and it has a twisted meaning – given the principals.

    “Republicans would bitch about a blow job.”

  10. lilacluvr

    Now, that’s a mental picture I could do without – Newt Gingrich in that blue dress.

    I wonder if he would wear pearls or diamonds with it? And stilleto (sp?) heels is a must (you know all the good hookers wear those).

    Maybe there is more to Newt than we know???

  11. wicked

    And stilleto (sp?) heels is a must (you know all the good hookers wear those).

    Hey! I resemble that remark.

  12. wicked

    Newt, maybe. Rudy, definitely. 😉

    • lilacluvr

      I don’t know wicked – Newt looks like a guy just dying to wear a tiara and singing ‘I feel pretty, oh so pretty’

      Now all he needs is a few lessons in pageant walking and pageant waving – hey, I’ve got just the girl for him – You Betcha!!!

  13. Bad Biker

    In the Con/Republican world, diplomacy is weakness, the sky is green and the grass is blue and all is good if you’re just a Christian, preferably white and male.

    I had an interesting exchange with a Con on the comment section of Leonard Pitts most recent column regarding Obama’s birth certificate.

    First he made a general comment that Obama should release his BC – he stated that he had not.

    I c/p a section from PolitiFact indicating that he already had released his BC – he linked World Net Daily stating that Obama had spent $1M “hiding” his BC from November ’08 to January ’09.

    I c/p another section from PolitiFact proving that it had been released in June ’08 – He stated that PF was a lefty organization that was “found by Soros and Hillary” and that had been debunked countless times – I c/p the section stating that PF was funded by the Annenberg Foundation at Penn.

    He linked the Ayers, Obama Annenberg Chicago school project, stating that Obama and Ayers “shared an office for years.” – I c/p the fact that Obama was president of the project for four years and Ayers was merely an adviser to the organization. I also pointed out that Annenberg was a Republican.

    That made me a liar, according to him. Not only that, I was a “stooge for socialism.” I asked what did socialism have to do with a BC.

    Then he stated that the Annenberg Foundation was infiltrated by “lefty’s” after Annenberg died in 1974 – I pointed out that Walter Annenberg died in 2002.

    Again that made me a liar.

    So, (since my ‘puter crashed and I could not follow up) that made the final score Facts 5, Cons 0.

    I am sure, however, in the Con’s mind, he had “schooled” a liberal and all was well in his suspended-reality world.

    • lilacluvr

      And to think, you did not even go into debunking that fake Kenyan Birth Certificate these birthers supposedly have as evidence.

      In my opinion, if this fake Kenyan BC was submitted to a court as evidence and is found to be forged – then the person submitting it should be proscecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

      I wonder if that will ever happen? And if not, then why are the law and order Republicans not on that issue as being a frivilous lawsuit tying up our court system?